Welcome to another interview with an affiliate!
Every now and then we post our chats with the affiliate marketers that catch our eye doing something unique or noteworthy that others could learn from. Today’s guest is Jansie Blom and he definitely fits that description.
He runs a site called Rasp & Rivet which focuses on personal reviews for outdoor gear, tools and even crowdfunding campaigns. His site is brutally honest and it is that which caught my eye because most affiliates tend to sugar coat their reviews in order to earn a buck by referring them onwards. Not Jansie, he lets them have it real and raw.
I reached out to him after he reviewed ThirstyAffiliates (just prior to our relaunch 3.0 – but he still gave us a great 4/5 which is quite an achievement coming from him!).
Without further adieu, I’ll let Jansie take the mic!
Q: What is your site about? Introduce yourself and how you got into doing what you’re currently doing…
Thanks for the opportunity. Really appreciate it. (Love the Aussies, despite us being mortal enemies on the rugby field.)
My name’s Jansie. The “J” is pronounced like a “Y”, and my name rhymes with young sea.
I’m a copywriter and content marketer (the latter is apparently a thing now).
I got into writing a few years back, after having done all sorts, including qualifying as a toolmaker and doing a stint as a salesman for a carbide manufacturing company.
I’ve always had a knack for threading sentences, but it took me years to go in deeper than my neck.
My site is a trusted source of product reviews. I buy products, test them and spill the beans in lengthy articles. I review any product that makes life easier, whether made for indoor or outdoor use. And even though I prefer writing about outdoor, non-electronic gear, I’m open to reviewing any sensible item.
I used to endorse crowdfunding campaigns too, but the crowdfunding scene is filled with landmines, so I decided to quit doing that. In fact, I try to expose bad crowdfunding campaigns. I consider it a duty.
Q: How do you use affiliate marketing on your site?
Most of my reviews contain affiliate links of some sort. If the product doesn’t cut it, I don’t place affiliate links. I’ve had one of those. I think it’s only fair that my readers know when a product is sub-par, and why it’s sub-par.
My aim is to have a website filled with quality content covering products available through affiliate links. If I can monetise in that way, I remove the need for monetising with ads.
As for how I manage my affiliate links, ThirstyAffiliates plays a HUGE part.
I used to handle affiliate links manually. I’d visit Amazon, get the SiteStripe link and pop it into my content.
But one day I remembered having read about affiliate link cloaking some years before.
So I googled the term and came across numerous posts about affiliate management tools.
I chose ThirstyAffiliates, and I’m happy for having done so.
Like so many things in life, you hear about something that might benefit you, think to yourself, “yeah, sure,” and forget about it.
Then you start using it and you want to kick in your own head for having been so obtuse.
That’s life for me, in any case. And that’s how I feel about ThirstyAffiliates. It’s an amazing tool. I should have started using it at the beginning of my walk.
For instance, I put a lot of effort into directing my readers to the best Amazon for their location (where I use Amazon). TA allows me to add geolocation.
Then there’s the centralised affiliate link management. So convenient.
One of my favourite features is the auto-linking. That is an INSANE feature. I have to check myself to not go overboard. I’d make everything an affiliate link if I could.
Q: You have a unique writing style, it’s quite personable and funny like you’re talking to a mate, do you find this helps improve the effectiveness of your reviews or makes them easier to write?
Thank you. Kind of you to say that.
Attention span is an issue. You hear that all the time. But that doesn’t mean you should keep content short in the name of what the “gurus” are saying.
It means you need to be smart about how you communicate.
The key is to keep information long, and writing short. Does that make sense?
Let me try to explain…
Even though my articles are thousands of words long, I create them in such a way so as to fool you into thinking they’re edible little chunks.
And yes, I’m speaking to a friend. I want to show you how awesome this product is, without adverbs and exclamation marks. And without using clickbait titles to lure you in. Friends don’t speak to friends like they’re customers.
Does it work?
Not for everyone.
But then again, I’m not trying to please everyone.
From watching screen recordings of people using my site, I’m happy to report that it works well enough.
Q: So, Jansie, from the bottom of your heart, with no holds barred, what do you think of SEO and keyword density?
I’m sick of hearing about SEO.
If you must choose between SEO (whatever that means to you) and content, choose content.
Write long articles. That’ll give you keyword density.
Spend more time creating content and less time worrying about SEO.
Q: What would you say is the most important element of your strategy that others can learn from?
Quit Netflix, focus on one thing, think long-term and don’t give up. And build a newsletter list. (That’s a tough one, much harder than getting your SEO sorted.)
Forget overnight success. It doesn’t happen to everyone.
I can’t give you a single element.
I can say: God’s grace + focus + determination + tenacity + quality = success.
I love a saying that’s been credited to Conor McGregor: “There’s no talent here, this is hard work…”
Q: Where can people find you and follow what you’re doing?
I have a Facebook page, but recently started a group I’d like people to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/662947687228346/
On Twitter, find me at https://twitter.com/jansieblom
Thanks again, Josh, and all the best for your business (and your rugby team!).